Black Lives Matter

When you run a farm, it’s easy to forget the world at large. Any kind of upheaval—be it social, economic, or even environmental—can usually be ignored if it doesn’t directly bear on your crops, your crew, or your customers. Dan was farming upstate during 9/11, and it took hours if not days for the significance of the attack to sink in. In the era before cell phones, events in New York City and Washington seemed so far away, when measured against the daily needs of a farm.

There is no avoiding the events of 2020. When COVID-19 hit and the demand for local produce surged, we raced to plant more food, hire more staff, and meet the heightened pressures of the moment. We also received the homeschool baton. Like many others, we adapted, simply because we had to.

Two months later, the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent street protests have required nothing of the farm, but they have arrested our sense of humanity. If there’s one characteristic that unites many of the farmers I know, it’s passion—passion to feed people, to heal the Earth, to engage in meaningful work. For myself, there is a direct line from my career as a farmer to a teenager’s passionate belief that everything in life should be fair. I distinctly remember learning, as an eighth grader, about the genocide of Native Americans and feeling both outrage and impotence. I remember wishing I could do something about it. That feeling remained with me right up to college, when I lived among idealists committed to changing the world,